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What will the future bring for Sullivan West students such as first grader Evan Herbert?

Sullivan West board adapts budget which calls for cuts in staff and programs

By Dan Hust
LAKE HUNTINGTON — April 23, 2010 — It little mattered that the Sullivan West Board of Education managed to lower the 2010-11 budget by $92,000 from a year ago – to $32,654,377.
“In terms of dollar figures, it’s actually less than the 2007-08 budget,” pointed out Superintendent Ken Hilton.“Unfortunately, it’s so tough to rebound from the loss of almost $1 million in state aid.”
The tax levy (amount to be raised from taxpayers) will rise 2.7 percent to $16,438,099.
“It forced us to reduce programs and even lay off people and raise the taxes,” Hilton summed up the fiscal predicament the reduced state aid put the district in.
“My theme for [Tuesday night’s] budget hearing was ‘I don’t like it, but I can live with it.’ None of us likes to do this.
“It’s more fun for a superintendent to be in a position to build programs rather than dismantle them,” Hilton added.
“This has been the most difficult budget I’ve ever worked on,” said five-year member and board chair Anna Niemann.
Niemann said the board members knew last fall that state aid would be reduced.
“The decision, collectively, was the best we could do under the circumstances,” said Niemann.
She added that “If additional [promised] state aid comes through – and we strongly feel that it won’t – then some of the cuts will be restored.”
Here’s a summary of the proposed cuts:
• 2.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) elementary Spanish
• .5 FTE elementary art
• Eliminated .5 FTE high school ELA and 1.0 FTE health teacher through attrition
• .5 FTE therapist
• 2.5 FTE office/clerical
• .5 FTE speech
• Eliminated summer school (except driver education)
• Driver education in summer only
• Eliminated elementary Spanish
• Reduced field trips
• Reduced staff conference and travel.
• Eliminated after school homework help at ES
• Reduced elementary art to 1.0 FTE
• Reduced elementary school librarian to .5 FTE
• Reduced funds for planned capital repairs
• Reduced funds for sports transportation

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